Mount St. Mary’s Academy brings the timeless musical classic "42nd Street" to life in it’s own unique way this weekend.
Facing countless obstacles, the main character of "42nd Street," Peggy Sawyer, works to advance in the tough world of show business, struggling to make herself known in any way she can. Along the way, she meets the many characters that inhabit the world of theatre, including one-time star Dorothy Brock, her Texan sponsor Abner Dillon, and successful Broadway director Julian Marsh. By the end of the show, Peggy leaves the stage a new star, finding love, and showing the world she can do whatever she puts her mind to.
Despite the challenge the students face in embodying characters who are generally much older than them, the lead actors of this show bring the story to life.
While some supporting actors fall short in their performances, the leading characters hold up the show with their above-average performances.
Notable performances are given by Julia Murphy (Peggy Sawyer), Nathan Kohler (Billy Lawlor) and Chris Palumbo (Julian Marsh). These performances are magnified by the incredibly showy and well-designed costumes that establish the unique dress of the time.
Vocally, what the show lacks in strong ensemble sound, it makes up for with the leading ladies, Annabella Bogart (Dorothy Brock) and Julia Murphy, and some strong male singers, Calvin Northrup (Pat Denning) and Chris Palumbo. Small ensemble groups also stand out vocally, in numbers such as "We’re in the Money" and "Go into Your Dance." As a whole, the show is generally well put together vocally thanks to the direction of Tim Wells.
Stylistically, this show embodies the dance style of the 1930s, bringing to life the good old tap numbers many remember fondly from their childhood.
Choreographer Lauren Alaimo masterfully designs these dance pieces in a way that makes them a spectacle to behold as dancers powerfully tap their way across the stage. The tap numbers in this show are certain to have the crowd on their feet.
This spectacular performance is enhanced by the efforts of the pit orchestra, which is composed of both students and adults. The orchestra brings about the feeling of the 1930s with their well-rehearsed performance of the classic music.
Possibly the most important component of the show, lighting, is also very well designed. Color cues and spotlights enhance the image the audience sees, and focuses the attention very well. This lighting design is perfect for keeping the audience in the show, and highlighting the talents of the performers on stage.
In order to achieve this stunning final product, each cast member went through their own individual process. For some, this involved in-depth character analysis and creation. For others, a focus on vocals or dance was crucial to their development.
Sophomore Annabella Bogart says that, for her, the most difficult part of the process was "learning all the material, including dancing and lines." For Senior Stevin Carroll, there were other issues. He said the most difficult part of the process for him was his vocal issues. He said, "people had to work around the fact that I couldn’t sing or speak because I had bronchitis."
This intriguing story of love and personal struggle is brought to life through the hard work and dedication of the cast and crew of Mount’s "42nd Street." The show is a very well put-together piece of musical theatre that provides a glimpse into the past. In almost every aspect, this show is quite excellent.
Mount St. Mary’s production of "42nd Street" opens this weekend in Mount’s Auditorium 3756 Delaware Ave., Tonawanda, with shows tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors and children. Tickets can be purchased at www.msmacademy.org/donate/ticket-purchase/
Declan Rapp is a senior at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.